New tape formats are bigger, faster & safer


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Capacity vs. speed
Native capacity--which today ranges from LTO-3's 400GB to the DLTtape S4's 800GB--is the first thing to consider when looking at new tape formats. For users with a lot of data to migrate from disk to tape, the time it takes to move the data and the ability to store large sets of data on a single tape are likely important factors, so higher capacity tape formats may be a good option. Approximately 18 months ago, Quantum Corp. noticed a trend where users opted for higher tape capacities over higher performance. As a result, Quantum changed its DLT product roadmap to emphasize increased capacity over speed. "We made a big [DLT] capacity bet," says Mark O'Malley, Quantum's manager, strategic marketing, storage devices.

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The leading tape formats
Click here for a comprehensive list of the leading tape formats (PDF).

Quantum's new DLTtape S4 tape cartridge scales to 800GB native and 1.6TB compressed. DLTtape S4 provides a 167% increase in native capacity over its previous generation Super DLTtape II, and offers 300GB (native) more capacity than its nearest competitors, IBM Corp.'s 3592 Gen 2, Sun Microsystems Inc.'s StorageTek T10000 and SAIT-1 tape formats. The tradeoff with DLTtape S4 is that its 60MB/sec native speed doesn't measure up to the higher speeds that some of its competitors offer. For example, the 3592 Gen 2 tape format supports 100MB/sec native; the T10000 is rated at 120MB/sec native; and LTO-3's current speed is 80MB/sec, with a roadmap that says it will hit 160MB/sec native by the end of 2006.

This was first published in May 2006

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